With the arrival of Quaker Days, students from all over the world have come to Penn this week to see what the University has to offer. This weekend, we’ll be getting even more.
Penn track and field’s annual Transatlantic Meet will take place at Franklin Field on Saturday, with Ivy League heavyweights Cornell coming to Philadelphia along with a pair of English powerhouses in Oxford and Cambridge.
The quad meet should showcase the best and brightest from both sides of the pond — and that opportunity is one Penn coach Steve Dolan respects greatly.
“It’s a very long-standing tradition: it’s got some great history,” Dolan said of the now 50-year old meet. “It’s pretty amazing.”
As Penn plays this year’s host, the athletes will get to enjoy the experience of showing their British visitors a good time. In an act of hospitality, the Quakers will shack up the athletes from Oxford and Cambridge in their own dorms and houses, and the captains of the team will even take their visitors out for dinner on Saturday night.
The chance to host such esteemed visitors appealed to team captain Taylor McCorkle.
“I’m sure we’ll all have a bonding experience,” the junior sprinter said. “I’m not so much nervous as I am excited to be around them. Because they’re very smart people.”
But on Saturday morning, there will be no room for friendship, as many of the Quakers continue to seek out personal bests and NCAA qualification-worthy marks, with the season building up to a peak.
The countdown to Penn Relays is at just over two weeks, while the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships take place the following weekend. Obtaining good seeding for those meets is crucial, making the next pair of events all the more important.
McCorkle will look to better what has already been an historic season for her. Having broken the school record for the 100-meter dash as well as the 4x100m relay with three of her teammates, the junior now has her eyes set on Ivy League glory. She is currently seeded second in the 100m and fourth in the 200.
“I’m just really happy for her,” Dolan said of the captain. “She’s had up to this point — knock on wood — a very healthy season, and a successful season, indoors and outdoors. After all, she’s a team captain. The team elected her captain because she has such a great work ethic, and attitude as well.”
As for the whole team, it’s no surprise what Dolan is looking for.
“We want to keep progressing.”
With a number of records already shattered so far this season, the Quakers will see if they can continue to progress on Saturday. If they can, then maybe dinner with their English colleagues will be a little extra enjoyable.